ESD Funding Request: [Aragon Court: Awake the Sleeping Giant]

Hey hey Daniel! Thanks for adding the first comment here. Let me add on to two points that you made:

I had also thought it was at the MVP stage. However for it to be a viable product it needs to be something that people want. Even when Jorge tried to give it to other DAOs for free no one would take it. Additionally, there isn’t consensus on what problem it’s supposed to solve for whom (i.e. is it for internal DAO disputes, intra-DAO court, some other ODR use cases).

This description doesn’t line up with what I’m trying to propose. We’re going to determine a viable direction for Aragon Court and then get quantitative and qualitative validation of that direction, i.e. help Aragon Court go from 0 to 0.5. Then we are going to go to the main DAO for actual funding, which will be something like $2-4m to get Aragon Court to be a real player in the market (which, for clarity, this second step isn’t included in this proposal).

I wrote the ‘deliverables’ not to cover everything that we need to do, but instead as the minimum actions that I’m 95%+ sure will happen each month. I did that because I see those deliverables as a commitment for our team to fulfill. The reason there is uncertainty is something I tried to cover in the Limitations and Risks section.


Hey @Brian, thank you so much for this proposal.

Could you please clarify:

  • Who are the stakeholders you mean here, “Finished talking to all Aragon stakeholders.”?
  • Are the two proposers the full team delivering upon this proposal?
  • While I recognize that preparing and writing a proposal is not an easy task and I take your comment about uncertainty. However, month 4 looks a bit light
  • I agree that there is no clarity around if the product is viable at all in its current form and which use case/s could have a potential product-market fit. So I don’t think scoping is trivial

@daniel-ospina until AN DAO’s voting infrastructure allows jurors to vote; for me, it is unethical to ask the network whether we should invest in the further development of the Court when it pertains to trivial amounts from a network perspective.

That being said, I like the idea of other teams bidding to complete the work if this can be feasibly achieved in a reasonable timeframe (e.g., if we will be able to evaluate the options during the ESD call on 18th April).

@Brian on the potential follow-up funding request. Given the size, the process will be a competitive one - use your work in the current proposal, if successful, to define a scope and allow the current team as well as other teams to apply for the funding. In that context, all related materials i.e. UX mock-ups, any schemas and/or code should be publicly available

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Hey @fartunov , I’m happy to clarify, these are some good points to clarify.

To my knowledge, there aren’t any of the team members left from the group that had originally made Aragon Court. That being said, Aragon has a rockstar team who are all incredibly knowledgeable in the web3 space. So first we will have conversations with more people inside Aragon. I’ll also be trying to find if there are any internal requirements for the product or ideas I need to keep in mind.

Yes, we’re a two-person team.

I addressed this a bit with my last comment to Daniel, but I am 100% certain that there will be a lot more work that month to do other than that proposal. Hopefully, we’ll be narrowing in on use-case prioritization or some feature sets that will help in our proposal for the MVP, however, since I see the deliverables as a commitment for our team to fulfill I’ve only included things that I’m 95%+ certain we’ll do that month.

Yeah, it’s going to be a great project, we’re quite excited to start diving in and seeing what opportunities we can uncover.

100%. We’ve already committed to ‘working in the open’. I think Aragon Court has the potential to be a massive success. It’s our hope that this project can spur the investment into growing Aragon Court no matter who is taking it on for the next steps.

Thanks again for your comments! :raised_hands:
Let me know if you want to pass us any ideas.

I was of the understanding that @Tayy held a day job as the Aragon Core Community Manager of AN DAO and as a member of the DAO Ops team. Are both team members requesting 10k per month each part-time?
Or to ask another way how much time per month (minimum) do you envision committing to this project?

Hey hey happy to follow up here @lee0007

Not quite, I’ll be working on this at essentially full-time capacity so that I can make sure to get it done in four months. Taylor will be bringing 10-20 hours per week depending on what is needed at the time and his other obligations.

The actual payments will be split between me, Taylor, and any expenses that come up (interview compensations, software/tools, any small outsourced tasks like graphics/UI, etc.). I’ll be receiving more than Taylor as I’m putting in more time and my experience is more relevant/valuable to this project, however, we’ll adjust the final split on a monthly basis based on what’s happened that month.

Thanks for your reply, Brian

As the proposal stands, this is a substantial ask and I’m afraid I don’t have the level of clarity needed to be able to assess whether work for that value was actually executed or not. As such, I can’t support its current form.

My suggestion is you edit to commit to a substantial enough amount of work, and if the work changes a bit but still delivers value, we’re happy to execute the payments nonetheless. For clarity, we will hold a level of flexibility to accommodate for regular uncertainties of entrepreneurship.

ESD General Meeting Monday 4 April UTC 1900: As per @daniel-ospina comment above there was unaimous agreement that we do not have the information required to approve this proposal yet. Can you please clarify

  1. the extent of deliverables, on the understanding that these are not fixed in stone. We understand best laid plans and deliverables require flexibility. If you can explain why/why not something was delivered and what work is instead undertaken, funding is still available.
  2. The funding request is not yet aligned with the offered deliverables. Advice on costing for this type of research will be sought and posted here in this forum. And it is possible that other competeing proposals may also present themselves.
  3. This proposal was considered today as an exception to the required minimum seven (7) days notice because we had time available to discuss. The ESD would like to be in a position to decide on funding at the next ESD General Meeting on Monday 18 April UTC 1900

@daniel-ospina Sorry for not finishing your reply before the meeting finished, it’s 7am here now so I’m just getting to this.

Let my reply to Renee’s questions below and I think that should also address some of your concerns.

@lee0007 Sure, I’m alright to push back a couple of weeks so that we can get this proposal to a level that we’re all excited about. To that end, let me follow up on the questions you’ve asked.

I’m not certain I understand the ask here. Is it that you’d like to make sure that the monthly updates referenced in the proposal include information about what deliverables have/haven’t been done and what work will be done next? If so, then yes that is certainly information I was expecting to include but I’m happy to specify that in the proposal as a requirement for clarity.

To be candid, I’m not sure how the team typically decides what an appropriate budget is. In my mind, the value being created is already significantly larger than the proposed budget. It seems like Aragon Court is a massive opportunity and I believe that this proposal is the next step in the process of capturing that opportunity.

The last proposal was over four months ago, and it was $15k/mo for 3 months to do stakeholder + use case research and then to present a report. In contrast, our proposal is for $20k/mo for 4 to accomplish a validated value proposition, problem, solution, and the target user, and then to build a new proposal for the main DAO so that we can start getting Aragon Court in the market.

The similarity in our proposals is that we both conducted about a month of research before determining the same thing; that Aragon Court needs to go back to the product definition phase. Then our proposals differ a bit on the timeline and next steps. The previous one had a slightly lower budget and aimed to create a report as the first stage. The new proposal has a slightly higher budget and aims to seek quantitative and qualitative validation from potential users.

Understood, I also hope that we’re able to get a green light before then :+1:.

I do think it’s best to get this project finally started. While it could be correct that maybe the deliverables could be improved or the budget could be cut down by waiting for another proposal, I think ultimately those benefits are going to be smaller than getting Aragon Court to market four months faster (the time it took between proposals last time). So let’s work together to get this improved so that we can get to work :muscle:.

Our queries largely relate to the fact that there are insufficient deliverables outlined in this proposal to reasonably justify the funding request. Excluding the reporting requirement of all ESD funded proposals, here’s my concise summary of your specific deliverables valued at 80k

  • Notion page with
    – summary of findings and
    – logs of learnings from failures/successes in problem statement testing
  • 40 - 50 interviews
  • Competitive landscape review
  • Quantitative + Qualitative analysis of problem/solution fit
  • Draft proposal for MVP

Can you see the (~60k) disconnect between funding and deliverables?
Either expand deliverables or contract funding, your call.

Personally, I would expand on the quantitative deliverables and the process for qualitative analysis in order to provide Specific Measurable Achieveable Relevant Timebound monthly deliverables and indicate the who is directly responsible for delivery.

@lee0007 Hey hey glad to follow up here.

We certainly have a disconnect about the deliverables. What is listed are some of the steps any product team might take as part of product definition and validation efforts. They give concrete check-in items that non-product-focused team members could look at to objectively assess that there is indeed work being done. They are not intended to be the main deliverables in this proposal. The main deliverables our team is focused on are:

Where these seem to fall short is the “Specific” and “Measurable” parts of SMART. There could also be some challenges around the “Relevant”, in that if Aragon doesn’t want to invest resources to create a successful Aragon Court product then this proposal isn’t relevant.

There might also be some additional clarification necessary around 1) why these validation steps are critical in the product development cycle and 2) the compensation typically paid to the product teams that do these steps.

Looking at the proposal overall, I do believe that it’s mainly on the right track. Both our current team and the last team came to fairly similar conclusions about what needed to be done next (i.e. the conclusion that Aragon Court needs to go back and figure out the value proposition, etc.) as well as fairly similar budgets (in that they asked for $45k for work that our proposal suggests will be done in the first 1.5-2 months=$40k).

Given that the April 4th deadline is no longer a concern, we’re going to take a step back and do a bit more planning about how to adjust the proposal.

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ESD General Meeting Monday 18 April UTC 1900: Thank you @Brian for you work to prepare this proposal. This proposal will not be funded by the ESD due to limited scope clarity and alternative projects underway that are focused on the development of Aragon Court.

cc @daniel-ospina @fartunov

Could you please share some details here:

“due to alternative projects focused on the development of Aragon Court.”

I am unaware of such projects:

  • Have they submitted a proposal?
  • Are they discussing submitting one in a public space in Aragon’s Discord?

In the spirit of transparency and practicing what you preach, we cannot acknowledge the existence of such efforts in our decision-making unless there is sufficient transparency around them.

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As discussed at the last AA <> subDAO meeting. Recording available on request see Notion

I can also add some clarity here. I was told that someone(s) at LexDAO is interested in submitting a proposal. The idea is that because they have experience as lawyers and solidity developers they might provide a better proposal. I haven’t been able to find who at LexDAO is going to do this yet, so I’m not sure if/when they will submit.

From my standpoint, I have two areas I’m interested to see about their proposal:

  1. Aragon Court needs an early-stage product development team to do pre-development product-market fit validation work, so I’m not certain that lawyers and solidity developers should replace a product manager
  2. I’m unsure about the timeline. Assuming the optimistic case where the proposal is 100% better and 50% the budget, is that worth delaying progress on Aragon Court by potentially months (the last proposal was 4 months ago)?

Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing the proposal and ultimately hope that this team and that team can combine forces to make a better proposal together.

Also I want to take responsibility here- I had contacted Renee directly to talk more quickly, so it’s my fault that she was in a place where she needed to mention things that hadn’t been discussed here yet. When I did that she even made the effort to tell me we should try to keep the conversation in the open. I don’t know about the AA<>ESD meeting, however I can say that Renee has been very helpful and hardworking through this proposal submission process.

@lee0007 Hey following up here- could you introduce me to the LexDAO members who are thinking about making a new proposal? Perhaps we can team up to do it together or at least I can hand over the background research I’ve done so they can get a faster start.

I saw the meeting notes here, I put in a request for access to the meeting video.

During the ESD on the day before, we agreed to entice potential alternative proposals to evaluate the current one properly. “Someone is considering potentially submitting” falls short of having an alternative proposal…do we have an ETA on that alternative?

Brian I’d recommend dropping into the Discord and talking to the crew in the legal guild This is a project a member of the Compliance Committee @eaglelex was working towards when your proposal was posted.

I do not need dates on an alternative in order to make a decision here @fartunov

Agree that while we discussed seeking alternatives the following day at the AA<> SubDAO meeting (in your absence) @tayy a member of this proposed team suggested the proposal be withdrawn as he was not aligned with the proposal.

Also @eaglelex indicated that this was something he was in discussion on and his expertise and networks in this field make him best suited to pursue the project. Can I remind you @fartunov of what you drafted for the End of Season Report

Have I misunderstood you? Because I believed we were in unanimous agreement that this proposal would not be funded and this is certainly my position. Given we have a standard to meet on providing people decisions for both transparency and accountability it was right to let @Brian know that we are not proceeding with funding at this stage

If I have misunderstood - unanmious agreement not to fund - You and @daniel-ospina could turn this decision and I encourage you to do so as soon as possible as you are already well beyond the established expectations that ESD should look to uphold

Please state your position on funding this proposal for the record.

My understanding was that proposal is not being funded because of somewhat limited scope clarity, not because of “an alternative that might come”. I am okay to keep the decision as it stands, the provided reasoning seems strange.

“Another team might submit a better proposal” is grounds for dismissal of every proposal. We should be more transparent around proposal or team deficiencies that drive our decisions

Agreed I trust that given the feedback the reasons for our respective decisions are now clear. For the record, I will add “limited scope clarity” to the ESD decision above